European recovery plan omits nuclear

27 May 2020

Foratom said today it "regrets" that the European Commission has ignored the need for nuclear power as a clean, dispatchable and European source of energy in its green recovery plan published today. These three elements are essential, it says, if the EU really wants to decarbonise its economy, create jobs and ensure that citizens, hospitals and businesses have access to the energy they need when they need it.

The European Commission's green recovery plan does not include nuclear energy (Image: EC)

The European nuclear trade body was responding to the Commission's announcement of a two-fold recovery plan from the coronavirus pandemic - Next Generation EU - to boost the EU budget with new financing raised on the financial markets for 2021-2024, and a reinforced long-term budget of the European Union for 2021-2027.

Foratom Director General Yves Desbazeille said: "The Commission has once again ignored Europe's largest source of low-carbon dispatchable energy. Nuclear is a low-carbon European technology, which ensures security of supply and creates jobs in the EU."

Foratom therefore recommends that the EU's recovery plan must: ensure security of supply; pay sufficient attention to European technologies which create jobs and growth in the EU; and do more to ensure it will achieve its decarbonisation goals.

It recommends that the EU’s recovery plan cover three points.

First, it must ensure security of supply. "During the crisis, nuclear has proved itself to be both dispatchable and flexible," it said. “Furthermore, European nuclear power plants have enough fuel supplies to run for around three years."

Second, it must pay sufficient attention to European technologies which create jobs and growth in the EU. "Nuclear energy has a significant European based supply chain. As a result, it currently sustains around one million jobs in the EU and generates around EUR450 billion (USD494 billion) in GDP, which is up to four times higher per unit of energy than for some other low-carbon sources," Foratom said.

Third, it must do more to ensure it will achieve its decarbonisation goals. "Hydrogen can indeed provide an excellent solution for hard to decarbonise sectors, provided it fulfils three conditions: security of supply, cost-effective production and a very low-carbon footprint. Electrolyser-based hydrogen which runs on electricity supplied by both renewables and nuclear meets these conditions perfectly," it said.

Foratom represents nearly 3000 European companies working in the industry and supporting more than a million jobs.

The Commission said the policy fundamentals of the recovery include the European Green Deal, meaning "a massive renovation wave" of buildings and infrastructure and a more circular economy, bringing local jobs; rolling out renewable energy projects, especially wind, solar and kick-starting a clean hydrogen economy in Europe; cleaner transport and logistics, including the installation of one million charging points for electric vehicles and a boost for rail travel and clean mobility in cities and regions; and strengthening the Just Transition Fund to support re-skilling, helping businesses create new economic opportunities.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News